Religions and World History

Zvi Ben-Dor Benite

in The Oxford Handbook of World History

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199235810
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in History

Religions and World History


This article examines the link between religions and world history. Samuel Purchas's initial approach to world history was simply ‘observing’ all the world's religions. The project grew to encompass much more, but the idea of ‘pilgrimage’ remained prominent. Religions are often presented as a universal human experience, yet there is in fact no universal definition of religion. In some cultures a religion is more a system of faith or of thought or philosophy. The discussion argues that without the concept of religion, world history is impossible. One of the most enduring outcomes of encounters or clashes between polities, civilizations, and cultures, is religion. as long as human encounters continue, new religions will keep emerging, and old religions will keep changing. The discussion closes by describing the holy site of Mt Moriah, or the Temple Mount, in Jerusalem.

Keywords: global knowledge; pilgrimage; world history; Temple Mount; Jerusalem; Samuel Purchas; world's religions

Article.  9513 words. 

Subjects: History ; Social and Cultural History

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